Platform Research – The Curzon Project

The Curzon Memories application was created by Dr Charlotte Crofts in conjunction with the Curzon Community Cinema as a way of enhancing their exhibition (The Curzon Collection), enabling visitors to take part in the story of the cinemas past. The app uses content aware platforms to allow users to navigate the exhibition, displaying a variety of document types in different ways to help immerse the user and make the exhibition more engaging.

new-improved-curzon-app

I had researched the app last year in preparation for using App Furnace to develop a GPS based audio effects piece. This year I plan to extend on my use of App Furnace and create an application that has a similar user experience to the Curzon’s application for an Exterior tour.

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The Curzon app is split into two sections, indoor and outdoor. The indoor section allows users to get historical information and short stories from the past inhabitants by the way of QR codes; A User will navigate the attraction at their own pace and desired route and will scan QR codes to enhance gain information relevant to their location or an item of interest.

The outdoor section works in a similar way to the indoor section but relies on GPS positioning to locate a user and provide content based on the users location. This is the sort of thing i’d like to implement in our Chartist walking app.

After speaking to the Apps creator Dr Charlotte Crofts she explained how the app hadn’t been updated for a number of years and that there were now new owners of the Curzon Cinema so she wasn’t even sure if the App was still in a usable state. I decided to head down to the location in Clevedon to find out if the GPS side of the app still worked and if it did what sort of experience did I have.

I parked at the Lidl supermarket behind the cinema and loaded up the app and started walking towards the cinema. Previously I had used the app in a ‘No GPS’ mode which meant I could see all the locations and select a location to explore the content. The live version of the app didn’t show any locations on the map which I thought was a bit confusing as I wasn’t sure where i should be heading to experience content.

As I walked toward the cinema a background audio began to play, I knew then I was heading in the right direction. As I approached the building a character began to speak, it was a bizzare feeling as the character mentioned people walking by with their shopping bags and that was indeed what I was seeing in real life. I stood and listened to the character giving accounts of the early days of the cinema and then headed on. I recalled when using the ‘No GPS’ Mode that a screen would pop up and allow me to replay or skip an audio/image display, this wasn’t happening in the GPS version so I had no idea how long to stay still at this spot. As I moved forward along the road the next set of audio files began to play. There was no narrative to the audio files and they could be taken in any order so it wasn’t really important that i followed a specific route.

The App told me to cross the road and look at the cinema from the front and this is where I encountered some problems. There seemed to be some overlapping of audio files and they were playing in random orders. it sounded seamless enough but there wasn’t a clear ending to each location anymore and I was just getting fed audio constantly. There was still nothing on screen to prompt me to stop the audio or give me any idea of the location I was meant to be stood in.

I turned the GPS off and looked for a location I particularly wanted to try out. One one the  locations offered the chance to switch between an old photo and the live view in the phones camera using a slider. sadly this function wasn’t working on the app. I continued walking around the outside of the cinema listening to audio that seemingly moved from character to another but I still had no idea of where to stop and get the best out of the app.

when evaluating the experience I think it was a really unique idea and very immersive especially with headphones. There are some considerations such as the user being able to see the locations of interest on a map as they walk so that they know where to head. The users need to be able to see a display that tells them when all the media has finished playing. I’d like the map to have a zoom function so that users can see the wider area and locations of interest. Consideration all has to be given to the use of headphones around a busy road. I felt quite cut off by wearing headphones and concentrating on the app and it was next to a busy road so this could cause a safety issue, especially with children.

 

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Research Trip – Chartist Caves

Research Trip – Chartist Caves

I was invited by Pat Drewett (Chartist Association) to come along on a walk he had organised to the ‘Chartist Caves’ in the Brecon Becons. The caves are said to be where the Chartists stored weapons in preparation the uprising of the Newport Uprising. This was an ideal opportunity for me to scout out some of the other chartist related locations of south wales, get to talk more with Pat about our project and to meet some more people with potential stores.

The part the caves played in the uprising is somewhat disputed, our guide for the day was Alyson Tippings from Blaenau Gwent tourism board , she explained that there were some caves in another valley that claim to be the ‘Chartist Caves’ but she invited us to make our own minds up based on the things she would show us.

The Caves are situated about 3 miles from the quarry village of Trefil at the edge of the Brecon Beacons near Tredegar. The village is the highest in the UK and home to the highest rugby ground in Europe. Alongside the village runs old tramlines to the quarry which was operational during the 19th century and sent limestone down to the iron works. Alyson explained that because the tramlines were so close to the caves it would of been ideal for the Chartists, many of which would have worked in the ironwork’s and quarrys to transport weapons; she pointed out that weapons would probably have been made down in the valley and transported back up on the empty wagons which were going to be refilled in the quarry.

The scenery was stunning, it was a lovely clear winter day so we could see around for miles. We waled along the old tram track before coming off and heading onto the top of the mountain which was like a flat moorland. As we walked I got speaking more to Pat and we talked about funding our project and about some of his past problems with getting funding and organising successful events. He spoke about communication issues with the council and that it can be a very slow process, something I’ve already experienced. We spoke about potential characters for the online documentary and he agreed with me that although the story has been done a few times it has not been very well executed.

After a 40 minute slow walk along the frozen mountain top we arrived at the caves, They were well hidden so i could understand why they might be used by the Chartists. We went down to the first level but the caves went on further underground and could be explored by experienced cavers. There was a small plaque that mentioned the caves link with the Chartists. We sat around the caves and had coffee, this gave me a chance to talk to some other people about our project. People again seemed really positive and I took some email addresses from people who were interested in helping out, one particularly from the Dolman Theatre in Newport with regards to helping supply actors for the documentary if we need them..

We walked back to the village through the old quarry that was used in the 19th century, now all overgrown it was amazing to see the old works cut out of the mountain and the old tram ways that would have been used to transport limestone down the valleys.

I left the walk with new ideas about how the Klynt project might look, utilising these small locations to supplement a main documentary would be a good idea and add extra elements for users to explore on the subject. The walk itself is not published so this too could be of help to people who are just interested in unique walking routes!

 

Treatment And Structure Workshop with Alistair

Treatment And Structure Workshop with Alistair

Today we attended a workshop with Alistair to try and flesh out our project treatment. We started by reading some of Alistair’s own film treatments one for ‘Bonnington Square’, A documentary about a creative community which formed during the 80’s as a number of squatters took residence in  a central London residential area. Having seen the film previously it was remarkable how similar the treatment was to the final film, it was as if it was a script for the making of the film.

With Alistair’s treatment in mind we compared it to our own, Alistair’s read just like a story, explaining the how the film would run with some technical detail but mainly a structured story. When comparing with ours, ours was much more technical and kept mentioning the film as if we were trying to sell a product rather than a story. We used phrases like “The film will be…” and ” we want to make a film about..” These are things that weren’t featured at all in Alistair’s treatments.

The workshop prompted us to dig deeper into our story and find a “rock” that the whole project centres around. So far we have just been vaguely mentioning the Chartists as our story idea, Alistair wanted us to dig right down into it and find the element that is the centre piece of the story, this of course being the people massacre on the night of the chartist uprising. With this in mind we could expand and explore themes and feelings and elements that will help tell this story.

We drew a mind map where we thought about key elements. such as narrative structure, characters, contributors, locations and images. At this point we were working towards the online documentary rather than the mobile app as the app has a limited format (see my AppFurnace meeting with David). The mind map helped to draw out items that will contribute to telling the overarching story including how the project will look and who it is aimed at.

After working on the mind map we looked at creating an initial treatment, Alistair asked us to write a list of how we imagined we’d tell the story in order; what would we see first, what would we hear, how the sequences link and what are the sequences telling us. When comparing our list to the treatments Alistair showed us it’s much clearer now how Alistair was in a position to write a detailed treatment that ultimately resembled his finished films.

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The workshop has thrown up some questions about the our own story. Alistair suggested that we should focus solely on the march, Newport and the people killed but initially I wanted to expand on this to include more of the South Wales valleys. Although the march did end in Newport, it was mainly people from the valleys who contributed and I want to be careful not to cast doubt on who should be credited as the heroes. Newport council are trying to re-brand it’s image and highlighting their role in the creation of democracy but I think it’s important to remember that the Newport council were the ones who tried to stop the Chartists.

This workshop has helped with my further understanding of documentary structure, I’ve often had ideas for stories but structuring them has always been my weakness. I’m hoping that using Alistair’s techniques will enable me to re-think some of my other projects directions too.

 

Research & Networking – Open Forum at Gwent Archives

Research & Networking – Open Forum at Gwent Archives

When initially researching the Chartism exhibit in Newport Museum I noticed something pinned on the community notice board about an open forum to discuss the “Political Convicts Research Project.” The flyer featured a picture of the Chartist Riots in Newport so it caught my attention. Reading further it mentioned discussing a “Digital online Hub” by a film company. At first I was a bit worried that a professional company was planning something similar to ourselves but then it seemed to be tackling transportation rather than just the chartists march. Whatever it was it sounded like something we should go to to find our what was happening and maybe network with some of the people who would be at the event.

The meeting was in Ebbw Vale, one of the south wales valleys that played a crucial role during the industrial revolution and in turn a place where the Chartism movement became very popular. Myself and Hannah-Jane arrived at the meeting not knowing what to expect, I was surprised at the turnout, around 15/20 people. When we walked into the room I spotted Pat Drewett, he is the Project manager for Newport Councils ‘Chartist Commission’ And also the chairman of ‘Our Chartist Heritage’, a campaign group raising and educating local school children about the Chartist uprising. We met Pat previously a few weeks back when filming a commission for Newport Council promoting the Chartist schools march. We were planning on talking to Pat further down the line but we couldn’t resist telling him of our initial plans and he was really enthusiastic. He asked if we could meet after the talk for a coffee to discuss plans.

The Forum was introduced by Tony Moore of Monash University in Australia. Tony had previous experience working at various media organisations and had written a book on the transportation of convicts in the 19th Century called ‘Death Or Liberty’ and more recently it had been turned into a film by the same name. Tony gave a presentation about the success of both the book and film how it related to this new Project. The book and film focused on characters who were transported as convicts to Tasmania and how they eventually came together to bring about democracy in Australia. The new project proposes to extend on the story of these political convicts as well as telling the stories of some of the other convicts who were transported to Australia.

The project was described as a ‘Trans-media’ project and it was interesting that Tony called this an revolution in media and related it to the revolution in democracy. The project would use an ‘on-line hub’ to tell 100 stories in the form of mini documentaries, it would contain archive documents and be a digital exhibition that could be shared across the world  using computer displays and drawing on individual museums documents and artifacts.

The project would be mainly funded by the ARC (Australian Research Council) at a cost of $300,000 per year over five years. The aims of the ARC scheme are to support the initiation or development of long term research alliances between higher education organisations and other organisations including industry and other research end-users in order to apply advanced knowledge to problems and/or to provide opportunities to obtain national economic, commercial, social or cultural benefits.

sdr

sdr

The presentation was essentially a pitch to the Gwent Archives group to ask for funding in the way of money or research time with monetary value attached. The ARC would offer funding but for this funding the project would have to be funded partially by outside sources. Gwent Archives hold vast information on Chartism and so would be an ideal candidate to take part, they would also benefit by having archive information collated for them and available online.

When watching the presentation I felt both excited and frustrated.relating back to our project I as thrilled that  we seem to have come up with an idea that there clearly is an audience for and that we’ve positioned it in a market that can probably benefit most from a trans-media experience. Seeing the convicts proposal is an acknowledgment for this type of media project. On the other hand I felt a bit frustrated that the convicts project has come about at this time as it obviously has a much larger budget and more scope than anything we could create. The saving grace is that the convicts project is taking a look at a different story to ours, also as it’s such a big project it will take a lot longer to complete. Tony was talking years in production where as we only have a few months to create our project. It does highlight however how much time is required to produce content to a very high standard.

After the presentation we met with a few of the members of the Chartist Heritage Association, They were very keen to talk with us after hearing us explain our plans during the talk. We met Les James who is a local Chartist historian; he is currently writing a book about uprising leader John Frost and he has previously put on exhibitions about the chartist leaders. Les was very interested in our idea but raised concerns about us going over old ground, he made the point that the Chartist uprising story has been told a number of times and maybe we should find a different angle. I appreciate Les’s comments but i also feel like although the story has been done a number of times it hasn’t been done to a very high standard; searching the web the story is generally told through slide shows of static images or poor quality video, I feel our treatment will offer the story in a new more professional looking format that will appeal to a media savvy audience. We met Rachael Lovering who was involved with the Newport museum and devised the museums Chartism exhibit back in 2005 and we had another chance to speak with Pat Drewett who was very enthusiastic. He explained that he also had plans for the same area that we wanted to base our mobile app in (Stow Hill) and that we could possibly work together to make one larger project. Pat agreed that we would meet again after our pitch as we hadn’t really expected to see him at the event but he also invited us to come with him on a walk to the Chartist caves in the Brecon Beacons where we could talk more and get some more inspiration for our project.

I left the talk feeling very excited that we seem to have chosen a good subject to explore and having the support of so many people who are experts in this subject should enable us to create something that is really appealing to it’s intended audience and done to a professional standard.

Discussion with David Smith – App Furnace and Klynt

Discussion with David Smith – App Furnace and Klynt

I had a meeting today with David Smith to primarily gain access to the App Furnace and Klynt software so i could prototype at home but also to discuss the feasibility of my new project idea. The last time I spoke with David we discussed my St Fagans project so this was another good time to pitch my idea briefly to get some feedback.

David used App Furnace to create his own location based app in Victoria Park Bristol so he is good person to talk to to get advise and point out some of the apps potential limits. He also created an app that worked across both Mobile and web with the Bristol ‘Arts on the hill’ project and ‘Park Hive’ so could advise on how to create an ongoing application.

Through talking to David I discovered a couple of big issues that I have to consider when building both my App and online project. One of the main problems is the amount of data used to power the app. App furnace downloads all the data needed to run the app to the phone on installation, this has both benefits and disadvantages, one of the benefits is that having all the data already accessible on the handset means that users won’t incur any additional data costs when using the app, the initial download will need data but this could be dealt with by providing a wifi hotpots at installation or making users aware of the data needed at installation so they can decide themselves if they wish to use the service. The disadvantage of having all the data downloaded in the App is that it could create a very large file, this could cause problems with users having used up a lot of their phones storage. Most Mobile apps are around 50mb – 200mb, they are more substantial for Games applications but users are willing to justify this extra storage because of the return (a game), we need to consider if making a large app will be acceptable to the end user.

There is a way to create a smaller app that would solve the data/storage size on the handset but this will involve adjusting the content of the app. Originally I wanted the app to contain images, video and audio. We can compress all of these to lower the size but by using video we will still be creating large file sizes. I need to weigh up if sacrificing the video element of the app and keeping this just for the online version will benefit the popularity with more users willing to download a simplified app that takes up less storage space, I also need to consider how this will impact on our proposed story.

The second issue that David highlighted was the AppFurnce software itself. When imagining the app I wanted to create something that would last after my University project, Much like Charlotte Crofts ‘Curzon’ project. I wanted to be able to modify it further and create a real something that can be developed further. The AppFurnce licence will only work until June, this means we have to either accept that it will disappear in the future or lok at ways at preserving it through another platform.

David suggested three options:

  1. Contact Calvium (the makers of AppFurnce) and commission them to re-produce the application to a professional standard and upload it to the app store. This could cost between £400 and £10,000 to create and would require funding from partners/local council.
  2. Employ a programmer to recreate the app and publish it to the app store.
  3. Use a software called AppMachine to re-create the app and publish it to the app store (approx £500.) This option is limited in it’s design.

Speaking With David has helped while planing the app and thinking about these limitations while planning with save us wasting time on concepts that may not be future proof. it will also meant that we will have to think more creatively about how we design a simple yet attractive and entertaining app. I’m also in a position now to start prototyping the app at the proposed location and finding out how it is received with my contributors.

Journal – Crowd Funding Second Meeting – Rewards & Timeframes

This afternoon we had our second meeting with Lydia and Hannah about crowdfunding for our short film ‘Behind Closed Doors’. Last week we met and they initially described the process to us and what we needed to do to make it successful including rewards, info and updates.

Rewards

Over the past week we’ve come up with a selection of rewards which will help us hopefully to raise the £1000 we think we need to create the film.

Lowest Reward – £5 Massive Thanks and A Digital Download and Name in the credits

(40 – £200)

Low Reward – £10 – Half hour live Q&A online (google hangouts) After film release + Digital Download & Name in Credits (20 – £200)

Mid Reward – £20 – Signed Movie Poster or Signed Printed Production Still (your choice) + Live Q&A, Download and Credit (10 –  £200)

Mid Reward – £30 Both Signed poster and print plus Q&A, Download, Credit (5 – £150)

High Reward – £40 ‘Pick a Prop’ Donate a prop to be included in the film (from list) + Signed Poster, Q&A, Digital Download (3 – £120)

£50 – Thank you you’ve helped fund our festivals. Receive all rewards and Exec Producer

Total £970

In the meeting today we went over these rewards. Myself and Sinead were under the impression that we had to limit the rewards so that we could only make the amount required. Lydia said we did not have to limit the rewards so we decided that all rewards except the most expensive Two (Exec-Producer & Submit a prop) would be unlimited, We could then hopefully use any extra money towards improving our production.

After pricing up Posters at around £6 for creation and despatch to the backer Hannah suggested we offer handwritten postcards as an alternative to Posters and prints. These would be cheaper to send out in the post, offer a personal touch and maybe more useful as people don’t tend to display posters anymore. Hannah also suggested that they should be more original than normal movie posters so that they are more exclusive and fan orientated.

We have tried to focus on rewards that don’t cost us anything to produce like the google hangouts video chat and movie download & credit. With this in mind we decided to replace the £30 poster and Print option with a signed script.

We decided that the incremental rewards would include all previous rewards, this way there is an incentive for backers to move up a level as they will not loose any of the previous rewards and a small step may mean they are prepared to offer more money to move up a level.

Timescales

Initially we were looking at launching Crowdfunding in December but after some discussions about peoples willingness to give during this time we have decided to kick off the crowdfunding at the end of January. As we will not have to pay our actors until after filming this will suit our production schedule; this timescale will also be beneficial because we will be able to see how our funding is coming along before production and determine if we need to make any changes to the budget.

In order to make the crowdfunding successful Lydia and Hannah have advised us on the importance of good social media, essentially building an audience for the crowdfunding before it begins. We are looking at using Twitter and Facebook for more official updates such as the trailers and posters promotion, this will begin at the start in December to give enough time to build an audience before the January crowd fund launch. We will be using Instagram for more ‘Behind the scenes’ style updates, these can begin sooner with photos of production meetings, filming of sizzler and more genera updates.

Lydia and Hannah will set up our social media sites for us using images we will provide when finalised. They agreed that we will provide them with media such as treatments and more in depth posts but they will offer day to day general updates to help promote the film.

Stock Images For Sizzler Pond 5

This Monday we will be filming our ‘Sizzler’ film for ‘Behind Closed Doors’. A Sizzler is a term I first came across while doing work experience for the Wild Screen Wildlife Film Festival in Bristol. When presenting new programme ideas, producers were showing us a ‘Sizzler’ of their next project, These were short highlight videos of programmed that act as a little teaser of what to expect when watching the final product. Sizzler’s are used as part of a pitching process to wet the audiences appetite.

We will be using our Sizzler to help us during the pitch and we have also planned to use it through our social media campaign and in our crowd funding programme to help attract and audience and gain funding.

Our Sizzler will be a number of key object shots which help tell the story in the final film, these shots will be shot cinematically and have a lot of focus on diegetic sound, the aim is to create a visual and audio pice that will cement the tone of the film with the audience and make them interested to see the final story. We chose to use objects as these raise questions, give great options for diegetic sound and also will save us having to show characters who haven’t been cast yet.

One of the shots we are filming on Monday is a family photograph being tossed into an open fire. As casting has not started yet we needed to get a suitable photograph to use for this scene, Looking through my own and other peoples family photographs I couldn’t find anything suitable with a couple and a young baby so I looked to the internet instead.

As the Sizzler will be viewed online it was important to consider copyright, I couldn’t just download an image form the internet. I’ve been using a stock site Pond 5 for a number of video and audio requirements in the past so I decided to check there for stock photographs. There were a number of suitable options for purchase and after contacting our Director we agreed on a photograph/Family to be our stand in characters for the scene.

The 2 images i purchased cost £3 each. I then took these to a photo-lab to get them professionally printed. I could have printed them out cheaper at home but I felt as this was a very cinematic close up shot we needed to see this was a real photograph and it needed to also burn the way a real photograph would when placed on a fire.

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https://www.pond5.com/item/60821740

Developing the photographs was an easy process, it took less than 5 minutes and cost under £4 for 8 photographs. I printed 4 of each photograph to allow for any mess ups.

 

New Chartist Idea First Tutorial – Jen Stein

Over the past week myself and Hannah-Jane have had a complete U-Turn on out idea proposal. Initially we planned to work with the National Museum of Wales in their St Fagan’s welsh history museum but we had complications with access and story so it was a very slow process. While working with the Museum we had the opportunity for some work experience with them filming the annual Newport Chartism commemorative march, doing this inspired me to change the idea for our project and this is the one we will pitch to the industry.

Jen Stein

This was our first meeting with Jennifer. Jen is an Assistant Research Professor of Media Arts + Practice at the University of Southern California and is over in the UK for a year carrying out research with UWE and the pervasive media studio. This tutorial was really useful because Jen was unaware of our previous idea so she had no opinion of it which meant we could pitch our new idea in a totally fresh way. This pitch also gave us the chance to explain the background to the idea to somebody who is unfamiliar with the content and the area that our project would take place in.

Jens tutorial was a chance for us to get more enthusiastic about the Chartism project, she gave us some practical advice on accessibility, having the project online for armchair viewing and how we could overcome security issues with equipment such as having people pay a deposit/leave a driving licence or be accompanied around by adults or members of the team. We planned on using a screen to display the Klynt page and Jen advised us about the cost of the touch screen but also that using a normal screen with a mouse might not work as many people still may not know how to use it.

As we are planning on making a real world element and an online element Jen advised that they shouldn’t be identical. We want users who experience the real world story to be able to find different things in the online version so that they are not just seeing what they just experienced. this could be as simple as having items talked about in the real world experience on display in the online element but with more information. Essentially we need to make both experiences worth doing by the same group of people.

With regard to the app we discussed the importance of making people look around, we don’t just want to spoon feed them the information, we want them to be actively involved in the story and this can be as simple as directing them to look for something.

Jen recommended checking out street artist Candy Chang for inspiration with our interactive elements. We were particularly interested in the ‘I Wish I Was‘ project that invited people to place stickers around the local area in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. This idea fits into our pans to ask the public to suggest a new peoples charter.

Candy Chang 'I Wish I Was'

Candy Chang ‘I Wish I Was’

Jen has given us some great inspiration and highlighted some of the practical problems we will face. a Very useful first tutorial.

 

 

 

Abigails Producing Workshop

Abigail Producing Workshop

Today I attended a workshop with Abigail where we went into detail some of the tasks that are generally completed by a Producer in a project. The producers role in pre-production is vital to the project being completed on time.

This session focused on the process of making a viable production using softeware such as movie magics to create schedules and budgets as well as using traditional techniques to complete the process. One of the most important things to focus on was that the project is constantly evolving and the producers role is to balance three key areas in order to create a viable product.

Script – The script is the main blueprint for the production, all decisions are initial based around the script and what the writer/director want to achieve. The first step of scheduling and budgeting is to go through the script and highlight all areas that will have an impact on the schedule and budget. These will include Scene length, Location, characters, Props, Special effects set dressing and camera moves at the very least. Having an idea of all of these elements will enable the producer to budget effectively and schedule efficiently.

Schedule – The schedule is important in ensuring a project is delivered on time, there is an overall schedule for the project which should be started from the delivery date and work backwards, this will include post production, production and pre-production. Abigail noted that post production is often overlooked particularly in student films and it can take a lot longer than we imagine, she also reminded us that post-production elements such as sound, soundtrack and particularly titles play very important roles in the final look and feel of a film so they should be given enough time for completion just as the main filming element is.

Budget – With an idea of the script and schedule budgeting can now take shape, budgeting is a balancing act between saving as much money as possible while ensuring all the HoD creative ideas can be realised. The budget sets out how much a production is going to cost and takes into account talent and crew costs, travel accommodation, equipment and grip hire along with many post production elements such as copyright, soundtrack, marketing and distribution. Abigail noted that not all of the money will come at once and that backers will often pay in installments so this is an important to remember when budgeting,

All three of the elements above are working together to create a project, if any one changes then the other two will need adjusting and there should be constant checks and adjustments to the script, budget and schedule throughout the process to keep the project running on time for delivery and within the agreed budget.

For my role as Producer on Sineads drama ‘Behind closed Doors’ I have begun using a free software called Celtx. The software allows the imputing of a script in an industry format and allows the producer to highlight all areas relevant to scheduling and from this i can create strip schedules, scene schedules and effectually plan the overall production phase of the project. using the information from celtx I can also then include this in the budget and get an overall cost for the creation of the project.

I’ve used Celtx successfully in the past and have found it very useful for scheduling. It requires a lot of work initially ensuring all items are cataloged and in the correct format but the initial work pays off in the production phase as you are able to schedule days with ease and ensure that all the team are aware of what needs to be done on a particular day.

Reflection on St Fagans Concept

Reflection on St Fagans Concept

Over the past couple of days I’ve taken the decision to ‘Shelve’ my concept for the St Fagans museum interactive experience, there are a number of obstacles that are preventing the project moving forward which i’ll briefly explain below.

When thinking about my project this year i reflected on some of the areas that have caused projects to fail in the past. Looking back over the past two years access has been the primary headache for our projects be it locations to film Drama or contributors for documentaries; with this in mind I decided to focus on access before ideas when thinking about my final year project.

I had a contact at the national museum of wales. I really wanted to make an interactive project after the success i had in year 2 with ‘The Bristol Hum’ and I thought a museum exhibit would be an ideal project to approach. Initially I planed to focus on the museum of welsh soldiers in Cardiff as I knew my contact had connections and I felt it had under utilised exhibits that would be ideal for development.

I prepared a proposal based on the Museum of the Welsh shoulder and myself and Hannah-Jane churchman arranged to meet my contact. We met at the National Museum in Cardiff and discussed some of the techniques we could use to create and interactive project for the museum. My contact was very excited by the proposal and said they’d love to help out. She suggested using The St Fagans museum of welsh life and so we proceeded with this as a project and began developing ideas.

Over the course of the next few weeks we had little communication from my contact at the museum, we found it hard to arrange a meting and get names of people we should talk two. We needed to move quickly to create a story. After visiting the museum we found it was a great location but needed a firm contact who could provide us with background information and possible story themes and this sadly wasn’t forthcoming at this time.

During the pitches I pitched an initial Idea I had for a possible story, I got support from my tutors and a crew started to form. Planning the story became increasingly more difficult because of the lack of contact, access and the fact that the location was so far away. Last week my initial contact did get in touch about filming a separate project for the museum, this was a short promotional film to highlight a local Chartism commemorative event. During this filming i was inspired by the people we were talking to and the stories they had to tell about the subject and I was also feeling proud that these people were highlighting a story close to me.

Over the past few days I’ve decided that it will be  more appropriate to change my project idea. I’d like to focus on telling a story local to me in the same sort of way we envisioned the St Fagans project (interactive/online) but with the benefit of it being much more local, open access to locations, a large number of potential stories and contributors who can help tell those stories. There is also a need for this story to be told as the council (Newport) actively tries to promote it’s Chartism history. i can still use my Museum contact but now this won’t be my only contact so hopefully planning can be easier. The location close to my home will also allow for easier access in terms of prototyping ideas and location recces.

Reflecting on my original idea it has lead me to this new one indirectly so the work put in initially wasn’t wasted time. There is also the possibility of picking this project up in the future after my university studies are complete and I can take a longer term approach to planning and implementation.

 

Guest Speaker – Dilseh Korya (editor)

Guest Speaker – Dilseh Korya (editor)

Dilseh Korya is a Freelance editor based in Bristol, he came in to give as a talk on how the industry works in general and how he manages his workflow when editing. I was really interested in this talk because I’m a keen editor and am interested in the job as a whole but more importantly as I imagine myself setting up a small company that takes on a number of jobs witch involve both filming and editing footage i’m interested in any ways I can be more efficient when editing footage.

Timescales for Edits and cost

Dilseh works mainly on Documentary and Factual programmes, he explained to us the normal turnaround times for different to give an example of how long you might work and how it differs between genres. Dileshs’ projects are typically 1 hour factual television programmes which include a mix of interviews and observational footage. The timescales for these projects are around 6 weeks for a prime time TV show and 4 Weeks for a daytime TV show, this is actual full editing days where the rushes and sequences have already been setup by an assistant. Wildlife factual television gets a lot longer editing time due to the complexity of the story and these editors generally get 16 weeks to complete a 1 hour edit. The rates for a 1 hour television edit will vary from between £1000 to £1500 per week (5 days) and a ball park figure for a typical prime time factual TV programme is £1300 per week.

Although the rates sound attractive it’s important to note that working freelance does not guarantee you a constant flow of work so when working we should consider how this money will have to tie over periods when you might be out of work for a while.

The Editing Process

Dilsehs’ editing workflow is something i’ll really take away from the talk, traditionally when editing I will go through all my footage in the ‘bins’ and select nice shots I want to use. Dilsehs’ approach to editing approach allows for a much faster workflow.

Dilseh doesn’t browse through the footage in bins, instead he makes sequences on his timeline and drags all of the relevant footage into them. Once the footage is all in the timeline it can then be scrubbed through very quickly and shots that are bad or not relevant can be culled. This process goes on, refining the shots and sequence interview, timing clips and organising them so they relate to audio. Dilseh is skimming the shots, thinking of beginning, middle and end images that are conventional with the audience.

Once all the sequences are complete then they are transferred into a new timeline where they can be moved about to create the story. Dilseh uses post it notes and colour tags for relevant threads of interview. Using these tags Dilseh can then shuffle the content around to create a basic narrative. The new time line is the first proper assembled edit.

Once the basic assembly is complete Dilseh duplicates the timeline and creates a new one, further trimming is completed and the structure is refined. This process happens another 4 or 5 times, each time further refining and adding different elements such as voice over commentary and a sample audio track. Voice overs are generally simple recordings made by the editor directly into the edit, this helps with image placement and storytelling and the script decision is a collaboration between the editor and the director/producer. Using sample music and voice over saves costs at this stage and makes things more efficient. Once the edit is complete a professional voice over can be recorded as well as a suitable soundtrack.

By week 5 There will now be a fine cut, with the project now trimmed to the correct overall length. It is then sent onto to the offline edit where the titles can be added, commentary re-recorded and the soundtrack replaced.

I found Dilsehs approach to be much more efficient and effective than my own, he is working through the project methodically and trying not to waste any time. He added some valuable lessons including the need to duplicate timelines before changing them (so that you have a back up copy) and the need to take criticism on the chin and not get to attached to what you’re working on. The idea of recording your own commentary was very interesting to me and I think doing this would enable me to structure my work a lot easier rather than writing down and imagining what will be in the final cut.

 

 

New Chartist Idea Tutorial – Judith and Alistair

New Chartist Idea Tutorial – Judith and Alistair

This afternoon we had tutorials with both Alistair and Judith about our new Chartism project. We were a bit apprehensive about suggesting a new project at this stage in the semester but myself and Hannah-Jane felt that we had valid reasons for parking the St Fagans project (access, pace of development and story) and that our new idea was a lot more suitable and achievable.

Our first tutorial was with Judith was brief but we explained our reasons for the project change and Judith was positive about our plans, she was aware of the Chartism movement and was pleased that we were continuing to work with interactive platforms. I think she was particularly pleased that we had now included the Klynt application which will allow us to create an interactive archive of our event and the research we will be carrying out.

Our third tutorial of the day was with Alistair. We briefly explained the project to him and he offered some useful advise on research. Primarily that we had to nail the history of the Chartists ready for the pitch so that we could easily and clearly explain both the project idea and Chartism in general as most people will be unaware of the movement. Alistair also suggested some people to contact for research for the project and students who could maybe help with that. Colin Thomas who is a BBC film maker and is part of the Bristol Radical History group. and Ben Pike, A fellow student who has made a number of social history films while at UWE.

Our meeting came just two days after the election of Donald Trump and with this in mind along with Brexit we all felt that this project could fit in well with the current mood for politics and change in the UK and around the world. Our project documents part of the introduction of real Democracy in the UK and the plight of the people who fought for it and could remind people about how important it is and how it may/mayn’t be being eroded.

St Fagans Museum Project Possible Structure

St Fagans Museum Project Possible Structure

I’ve started to develop some story ideas for our St Fagans Project. as we are planning on basing it at the St Fagans castle i looked toward the history of the castle as a stately home first and then a convalescence hospital during the war, I’d like to bring both elements into the story if i can.

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In terms of Audience we are thinking of attracting educational visitors and school groups of around 9/10 years of age. With this in mind I was thinking of using the stately home owners children as characters and maybe a Jack in a box as a prop that can be carried around the story and used as an interactive tool .

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To incorporate the hospital element I decided to incorporate some of the artwork that the patients were producing during the war. One piece stuck out, a small butterfly that I thought could be concealed in the Jack in a box.

My idea is that a group will arrive at the museum and discover one of the artifacts is missing, using the jack in a box they will explore the museum trying to locate this missing object (The Butterfly) During the journey they will learn about the history of the castle through interactive elements housed in the jack in a box and with contact with improvising actors. At the end of the story the jack in a box will open to reveal the missing object that has been there all along and can now be returned to the museums display.

 

 

Meeting With Emma Routley – National Museum Wales

Meeting With Emma Routley – National Museum Wales

We have a arranged a meeting with Emma Routley who is a project manager for the national museum of Wales. She is based at the national museum in Cardiff but travels to various museums around South Wales. Emma works mainly with youth and community groups and her job is to promote the museums to these groups and arrange learning and community activities.

The aim of the meeting was to explain in more detail what the scope of an interactive project could offer the museum and get an idea for the type of location that we could use to create our project. We showed Emma examples of other interactive projects based at heritage attractions such as Splash and Ripples ‘A knights Peril’, we also explained about how we used interactive elements to create our trans media narrative project ‘The Bristol Hum’ in our second year. Initially I had pitched using the museum of the welsh soldier in Cardiff Castle to Emma as I felt this was an under developed museum which could benefit from an improved attraction but Emma suggested St Fagans would probably be more suitable for this kind of project and she suggesting using the Castle at St Fagans as it has a long history and could possible add more of a character driven story.

Emma was excited by our plans and said she would work with us to get permissions to create the project and she would liaise between ourselves and the museum to come up with a suitable story structure. She explained some of the reasons why there has been a lack of investment by Museums around interactivity, this was mainly due to implementation costs amid tighter budgets but mainly because of the costs of updating and maintaining these systems which is an investment the museums simply can’t afford in the long run.

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After our meeting we explored the National Museum just to see if it had any modern forms of interactivity. It was interesting to see projections being used but this was really the limit of modern technology implementation at this site. I left feeling positive that we could perhaps bring innovative new approaches to the museums exhibits and create something that cost very little to implement and maintain but would have a lasting effect on the museums popularity.

St Fagans Museum Initial ideas

St Fagans Museum Initial Ideas Recce

As part of our research for our interactive museum exhibit we today visited St Fagans museum of welsh life situated just outside of Cardiff. The museum is part of the National Museum of Wales and houses original buildings from around wales that have been transported to the site and re-built/restored as an attempt to document welsh history and save historic buildings.

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This is a potential location for our interactive narrative story and so in preparation for our meeting with Emma Routley (National museum project manager) on Friday we decided to recce the site to give us an idea of what the museum already offered in terms of interactive elements and what we could potentially create.

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In terms of interactive elements the museum had very little on the day we visited. They had a few demonstrations of flour making and baking and a number of members of staff on hand to act as curators for individual exhibits. One exhibit did have an element of user interaction, the St Tilos church had small information boards where visitors were encourages to walk with them around the exhibit and identify artifacts.

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Some of the advantages of creating an experience here would be the size of the area and the fact that it is outdoors, this would be ideal for a GPS based application. The majority of the buildings are naturally very dark inside so this opens up the opportunity to maybe incorporate some sort of projection imaging into our story.

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With the museum being free and open daily we would have a loot of scope in terms of access to the site, being able to carry out research as we need but the downside is the museums distance form our base with is being a 1 hour drive from Bristol.

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Thinking of story ideas, the exhibits didn’t really have any character based history, they were more building and purpose related historical stories so we’d have to think of characters and a narrative to guide the audience through the exhibit.